Help support your immune system this winter with a healthy diet. You already know the basics: eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid excessive alcohol intake and follow a low-fat-low-sugar diet. And to give your immune system some extra support, here are a few more tips to follow:
1. Get a good night's sleep
A good night's sleep can help your body's natural defense systems. Research shows that we need seven to eight hours of sleep to stimulate our natural immune response. Even if you're busy, travelling or otherwise on the go, double down on your sleep when you can to help your body do its best work.
2. Sip tea
Being well-hydrated keeps mucous membranes moist so they can perform better. In addition to drinking water, sipping hot black or green tea with lemon and honey has multiple benefits. Breathing in the steam from the hot tea stimulates the cilia-the hair follicles in the nose-which support important immune system functions.
3. Get a protein fix
Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. So make sure to get protein-rich foods throughout the day, especially fish, eggs, and yogurt.
4. Wash your hands often
Our hands come in contact with germs on everything we touch. Indoors and out, in public and in our homes, we touch countless surfaces, shake hands, push elevator buttons, use hand rails and grab door handles. Washing hands often with warm soapy water or wiping with sanitizer can cut down on germs.
5. Keep your hands from touching your face
Studies have shown that people touch their face around 3 to 4 times every hour - far more than washing their hands. The risk is that each time you touch your mouth or nose you may be transferring bacteria and viruses from contaminated surfaces to your body.
6. Wipe down your cell phone
Most of us keep our phones with us at all times. We set it down on various surfaces, hand it to friends to show photos, and touch it ourselves again and again. Wiping your phone with sanitizer regularly cuts down on germs that could get near your face and mouth the next time you take a call.
7. Get moderate exercise
Moderate exercise is not only good for keeping your body fit, it appears to boost immunity. If you don't currently exercise, start slowly and build up to a regular routine. Then keep it up throughout the year.